Reed, Heller & Cannell

About Us

At Reed, Heller & Cannell, we strive to be more than just attorneys for our clients. We also act as trusted advisors and counselors. When you turn to RHC for help with a significant legal matter, our professionals provide you with the information and guidance you need to make informed decisions.


Resolving legal issues is often a complex and lengthy process that only can be accomplished effectively by an experienced attorney. Reed, Heller & Cannell is a respected law firm that has served southern Illinois with an office in Murphysboro since 1981.

Ed Heller

Edward J. Heller graduated from Murphysboro High School in 1964 and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1968. After Airborne and Ranger training, he served 14 months in the Republic of Vietnam as a combat tank unit leader. Ed returned from Vietnam and attended the University of Illinois College of Law, graduating in 1973.


After a tour with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Ed worked as a San Francisco-based private detective. He returned to Illinois and began the private practice of law in 1979 and joined with Gerry Reed to form the firm in 1981.


Ed says he gains satisfaction in being part of a community-based law firm that is “involved in people’s lives and helps them solve their important problems. We’re not just lawyers that commute; we live in the communities we serve, and that is our central role.”

Illinois, 1973

University of Illinois College of Law, J.D.

Business & Real Estate Law
Estate Planning & Probate
Civil Litigation

Benjamin Reed

Benjamin Reed, son of Gerry Reed, joined the firm in 2012 and was made partner in 2017. His primary area of practice is family law.

After graduating from Murphysboro High School, Ben attended Illinois State University and studied cinematography. Graduating in 2005, Ben worked in Chicago, IL, and Tucson, AZ, before deciding to study law. He moved back to southern Illinois and attended Southern Illinois University Law School, graduating in 2012.

When he isn’t working, Ben enjoys spending time with his wife Katie, daughters Eloise and Leah, and his dog, Baloo.

Illinois, 2012

Southern Illinois University School of Law, J.D.

Family Law

Michael Cannell

Michael N. Cannell was born and raised in Carbondale, Illinois. Mike joined Reed, Heller & Cannell in 2020 upon moving back to southern Illinois. Before joining Reed, Heller & Cannell, Mike was an attorney at Kirkland & Ellis LLP and then Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC, in Chicago.


Mike’s legal practice focuses on business, real estate, and estate planning. He enjoys his role as a trusted advisor to clients, learning about their business and personal goals, strategizing about how best to achieve those goals, and executing the plan.


Mike attended DePaul University College of Law, graduating summa cum laude in 2014. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences and from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2007 with a Master of Arts in Teaching. Before entering law school, Mike was a social studies teacher at Carbondale Community High School for three years.


Mike lives in Carbondale with his wife Julie and daughters Allie and Leora.

Illinois, 2014

DePaul University College of Law, J.D.

Business & Real Estate Law
Estate Planning & Probate
Civil Litigation

Richard Blake

Richard L. Blake is a native of southern Illinois, born in Eldorado and raised in Murphysboro. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale before acquiring his law degree from Memphis State University (now known as the University of Memphis).


Richard is a general practice civil attorney handling real estate, estate planning, probate, and business and corporate law. Richard represents a number of municipalities and special districts in the area. He joined the firm after his admission to the Illinois bar in 1992.


Richard particularly likes working with his clients. “I enjoy the people,” he says, “getting to know them and working with them every day.”

Illinois, 1992

University of Memphis College of Law, J.D.

Business & Real Estate Law
Estate Planning & Probate
Civil Litigation

Julian Valdes

Julian Valdes was born and raised in Belvidere, Illinois. He graduated from Loras College in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Following graduation from Loras, Julian worked for Prudential Retirement until he moved to Carbondale in 2016 to attend Southern Illinois University School of Law. Julian clerked for the firm during his second and third years of law school.


After graduating from law school in 2019, Julian served as a law clerk to the Honorable Alberto C. Lamorena, III in the Superior Court of Guam. Julian returned to Belvidere after completing his clerkship term in 2020 and worked in private practice until October 2021, at which point he returned to Southern Illinois to rejoin Reed, Heller & Cannell as an associate attorney. Julian’s practice primarily involves family law, civil litigation, and appellate law.


When not working, Julian enjoys playing Dungeons and Dragons, learning about video game history, and traveling the world.

Illinois, 2019

Southern Illinois University School of Law, J.D.

Family Law, Civil Litigation, Appellate Law

Gerald Reed

Gerald S. Reed has specialized in civil law since 1977. Originally from Homewood, IL, Gerry has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Illinois and was a 1977 graduate of the Southern Illinois University School of Law. Following graduation, he chose to stay in southern Illinois, opening a general solo practice. In 1981, he became one of the founding partners of the firm.


Gerry and his wife, Lori, have lived in Murphysboro since 1975, raising three children. When not working, the couple enjoys tackling home improvement projects, traveling, hiking, and spending time with their grandchildren.


The majority of Gerry’s practice is domestic law, including adoptions, paternity and marriages’ dissolutions.


“I feel that I help people both legally and emotionally at a difficult time in their lives,” he says. “Unfortunately, with the emotion overlay that surfaces in the type of work I do, it requires more than just cold, hard legal information. I am a counselor, and it’s my job to help lessen the stress and assist people in getting through a hard time of life.”


After 40 years of practice, Gerry is winding down toward retirement and is not accepting any new clients.

Illinois, 1977

Southern Illinois University School of Law, J.D.

Family Law